Category Archives: THINKING ABOUT THIS AND THAT

I am in a video game!

One of the great things about being a creative is undoubtedly the fact that I get to meet and hang out with a lot of other creative people.

And once in a while I get to collaborate on some exciting and extraordinary projects.

Boy, if you’d told me that one day I would get to be in a video game I’m not sure I would have believed you.

And yet it happened!

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Why I am an illustrator

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Hi everyone,

As per a recent post on my Instagram I wanted to come back on some of the reasons why I became an illustrator in the first place.

I love to draw, that’s a fact.

But loving to draw doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to draw professionally. If it had been just about loving to draw I could have carried on what I was doing before and drawn in my free time like I have been doing – like – forever.

No. I became an illustrator because I love to draw AND because I want to move people with my art.

I want to make you smile, I want to make you laugh, I want to give you a short mental break from your daily life.

And I want to be one of those people who sets an example and inspires you to follow whatever path you choose because everything is possible.

“You can do anything you set your mind to.” (Benjamin Franklin)

So be free! And have a lovely Friday!

8 Lessons I Learnt From Keeping A Travel Sketchbook

Hi everyone!

I just came back from a trip to Austria where I went to visit some friends of mine. It was a great holiday and one of the things that I am super happy about is that I kept a travel sketchbook!

A lot of the time when I travel I take a sketchbook and some pens and pencils with me and I end up not drawing at all.

However, just before I went on holidays I got inspired by the fantastic Christine Nishiyama (also check her Skillshare classes, they’re great!) who had just completed a road trip and had kept a travel sketchbook which she shared on Instagram. Her illustrations were so simple, beautiful and fun at the same time that they made me want to give it a go.

So I decided that I too would draw my adventures!… And the thought totally terrified me!

I mean, there is so much great stuff on Instagram and the likes that I felt very pressured to produce something that looked awesome, even though the whole point of going away for a few days was to relax and have fun.

And then I remembered how Christine’s account of her road trip and experience of drawing in her travel sketchbook made it sound approachable and laid back.

I wasn’t too sure how and where to start but I decided to be brave, forget about the idea of making something perfect and I gave travel sketching a go – my way! And I learnt a lot in the process!

Here are 8 lessons I learnt from this experience:

  1. Drawing when you are away is not like drawing at home: some of the materials I brought with me were different from what I normally use which means that I had to adapt my drawing a little.
  2. Sketching the illustrations in pencil first made it feel too ‘controlled’. I was spending way too long trying to get things perfect so after 30 minutes of not being happy with my drawings on day 1 I erased everything and went ‘freehand’.
  3. Going straight into painting without sketching my illustrations first forced me to think differently about what I was painting/drawing, loosen up and not ‘care so much’ (it brought back memories from the last Inktober challenge!).
  4. I gave up on perfection… and it felt good! At first I was really disappointed with some of my illustrations that looked inferior to what I normally draw at home. As soon as I reminded myself that it was okay for things not to look exactly like my photos, I started to enjoy myself a lot more and funnily enough the illustrations got better!
  5. Drawing complicated stuff (like people kayaking) freehand when you are hungover is very difficult. Actually drawing anything when you are hungover is more difficult!
  6. Wait for the ink to dry! I really should have remembered this one since I work a lot with Indian ink. Except that since I used an artist brush pen instead of my usual brush and bottle of ink I didn’t quite think it through which resulted in small smudges here and there – lesson learnt!
  7. I added some text to my pages but I didn’t have a particular plan when I started writing. Like the rest, I decided not to overthink it and I just wrote whatever came to my mind. I might not win the Pulitzer Prize for it but it worked just fine for me.
  8. As the days passed and I started to let go some interesting things started to happen. I became more confident and it was reflected in every aspect of what I drew (use of space, colour, subject matter, etc.). Sure, it was maybe not the illustration project of the year, but it was mine, and I owned it!

In hindsight there’s a bunch of stuff that I would now do differently.

But you know what? It actually doesn’t matter so much. Yes, there were a few bumps but there were some really cool things too!

As imperfect as they are, not only do those illustrations tell the story of what I did during this trip but they also show how I grew in just 6 days and that, in itself, is amazing!

And I am so proud that I committed to drawing every day and that in addition to the photos I took I also have illustrations of my holiday!

Fighting the burnout – Step 3: To infinity and beyond

Hi everyone!

Today our space adventure comes to an end but don’t be sad, there will be new ones!

He’s alive!

I know, this is the second film quote today (well almost, the original is “It’s alive!”) and I haven’t even written that much yet. It could be because I did film studies when I was younger or maybe it’s just that those quotes are so famous that it’s difficult not to think about them.

Anyway, one of the first things I did today was to paint the little astronaut’s face.

File 28-04-2017, 17 09 25

Planets

I also worked some more on the planets adding colour, rings and land on the big blue one.

File 28-04-2017, 17 09 39

(Reaching for the) Stars

Finally, I got to paint one of my favourite parts: the stars (if you have been following this series of posts I was already looking forward to that on day 1)!

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Conclusion

I am very happy with the result!

I’m sure that when I look at this illustration again in a few months (maybe it will even only take weeks or days… or hours) I will be more critical about it and point at things that are not quite right or that I could have done better. And that’s okay.

But for now, the paint on my palette and my brushes aren’t dry yet and I am just happy, and here’s why:

1.I drew the sketch back in February. After such a long time this sketch could have just been forgotten like a lot of my other sketches but it actually became a physical painting!

2. I didn’t use any references other than my initial sketch and didn’t even trace the illustration before starting – this could have gone wrong in so many ways, but it didn’t!

3. I wrote about my process! (Whoop, whoop!) I do normally share work in progress on Instagram – the convenience of pictures and the immediacy is nice but sometimes it is good to sit down and reflect on what just happened.

4. I am very happy because it worked! When I started working on this project I was feeling drained. My brain was submerged with self-doubt. I was lost! Taking some ‘me time’ and painting whatever I wanted however I wanted showed me that I can draw, and paint, and that I have a personal voice. You might think “Duh! Of course you can draw!” but unfortunately sometimes the obvious doesn’t seem so obvious.

Anyhow, I am thrilled that this experiment worked! Now I feel more confident and excited again!

Well, I guess there’s only one thing left for me to say:

Have a great weekend and see you next time for some new adventures on Camille’s land!

File 28-04-2017, 17 13 49

Fighting the burnout – Step 2: Baby steps

Hello! Welcome back!

Fighting burnout might take some time but what matters is to go one step at a time.

I already feel more excited and motivated than I was yesterday when I started so hopefully this is working.

Either way, thank you for accompanying me on this journey!

Below is today’s progress in pictures.

Halo

Today, I started with adding halos around some of the planets.

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Making a mistake… and fixing it

While painting the small planet next to the astronaut I made a mistake: I painted past the outlines that I had set and gradually enlarged the planet (think snowball effect) until it touched the helmet. I tried to make it look like the astronaut was overlapping but the planet was way too big both in relation to both the astronaut and the planets around, and it didn’t look too good so I had to paint over it.

File 27-04-2017, 16 31 43

Extravehicular mobility unit (aka the spacesuit)

I find space and space-related stuff absolutely fascinating! Although for this piece I am not looking at any references other than my skecthes from February (see yesterday’s post), which is rare for me, I am still learning a bunch of things while checking the spelling of some words for this post (e.g. figuring out if ‘spacesuit’ is written as one or two words – the NASA spells it as one word so I’ll go with that, I mean those guys probably know what they’re talking about).

For example, in space talk if you take your EMU out you are not suggesting that you are taking a large ostrich-like bird outside of the spacecraft but you are actually referring to your spacesuit (or extravehicular mobility unit).

Okay I’ve just made up this example but an extravehicular mobility unit is actually shortened to EMU and it made me giggle that it looks like the name of the bird.

Anyway, back on track.

On a piece like this patience is key. I have to add layer over layer to make the colours more opaque, especially white.

Here you can see some progress on the spacesuit:

File 27-04-2017, 16 31 55

Layering some more

I then added some more layers to the planets before I can start working on the details. The spaceship now also has a window!

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And this is where I stopped and where I leave you for today!

I hope to see you again tomorrow!

Fighting the burnout – Step 1: Acknowledging it and taking action

It’s somewhat ironic that exactly a month after feeling so pumped I am now feeling that I am reaching a near-burnout point.

It is nice to talk about the happy things – you know, those times when you are making progress and everything seems to go well – but I think that it is also important to acknowledge that there are also moments when I feel creatively drained and when I feel kind of lost.

I am in one of those phases at the moment and it’s not good to stay in that zone for too long so I decided to take action.

I am starting a new personal project that I will be sharing with you step by step.

Maybe something will come out of that and maybe not. Maybe I will love it and maybe it won’t be my best piece of work. Who cares? What matters right now it to give myself something to focus on. Something that I can have fun with and that will hopefully revive my ‘creative spark’ in the process.

The project

The theme

I wanted to paint something to do with space because I had a lot of fun working on my last space painting and I felt that I wasn’t completely done with the theme yet.

While having a quick flick through the pages of my sketchbook I found those very rough sketches from early February this year.

File 26-04-2017, 19 21 26

So that’s it! Put on your space suit people because we’re going into space!

First thing first…

Space means A LOT of dark blue. I naturally started painting the background first.

Here is a quick hyperlapse:

Then I painted some placeholders for my little space guy and his spaceship, and for planets. I can’t wait to add the stars – it’s a really fun part! – but I think I will wait until pretty much the end for that.

File 26-04-2017, 19 11 25

By the way, if you think that you are seeing some shapes in the background you’re not mad: I painted the background over an illustration that I didn’t like and redid on a different sheet of paper (yes, I am one of those people who doesn’t like waste). Hopefully those shapes will disappear as I start adding details to the painting.

Aaaannnd… that’s it for today, but stay tuned as I will keep sharing my progress on this painting!

Until then, take care!

Looking back on Inktober 2016

Inktober is over!

The rules of the challenge were quite simple: make a drawing in ink everyday, every other day or every week and stay consistent with it.

I decided to add a few rules of my own: although it was technically allowed, I decided that I wouldn’t trace outlines in pencil before inking (everything was drawn 100% freehand). I also decided to try my best to keep the overall style consistent; this is why, alhtough I could have, I didn’t use my nib pen at all. I started with ink and brush so I had to stick with it. Finally, I chose that I would only work in black and white.

Looking back on the past month, there were some “meh” moments:

  • I didn’t really like most of the “official” themes; I felt that they weren’t always adapted to the type of illustrations I normally like to draw and I felt that there were a lot of serious/dark themes. This being said, it forced me to get out of my comfort zone and sometimes, to find ways to deal with the subject matter in a more light-hearted way.
  • It was freakin’ hard to ink freehand, without any outlines!
  • I often felt pressed for time. Although Inktober was a fun challenge to take, I had to make room for it… on top of everything else (understand work but also usual house chores and life obligations like cooking/eating dinner, etc.).
  • Sometimes I felt a bit frustrated about the fact that I couldn’t make more time to develop my illustrations further; I had to keep them minimal so that they wouldn’t take me too long to draw.

But there were also some brilliant ones:

  • I liked the fact I got to practise ink drawing even more (this is something I had wanted to do for some time but I was struggling to make the time for it)!
  • It made me want to go a step further and add colour (and not with Photoshop, no. I mean paint!).
  • It made me want to draw in that style even more.
  • It made me want to keep a consistent practice. Although I do draw everyday, it can be easy to get caught up in work and only draw the type of illustrations that you are commissioned to draw. Inktober made me want to add more experimentation of subject matters, techniques, etc. and to do it more often.
  • Inking freehand for a month made everything else seem easy in comparison, even if my Inktober illustrations were only small pieces!

So all in all, I feel relieved that the psychological pressure of Inktober is over but I want to keep the positive habits and I generally feel happy and energised. I am thinking of starting Illustration Friday again (once a week should be manageable!) and/or to give myself a new theme or technique to explore every month.

We’ll see how it goes!

In the meantime, here are the last Inktober illustrations of the year.

You can see the whole collection on my Instagram.

 

Happy November!